Sugar, booze and extreme parenting

Friday, February 10, 2017

Late last year I gave a keynote address at the 2016 International Indigenous Allied Health Conference in Cairns. The paper I contributed, Fermenting country: caring for the ecology of our guts, revealed that sugar and booze work in similar ways:

"Refined sugars, which are secreted into almost all processed foods today, increase your risk of disease in a similar way to alcohol. What is extraordinary is that it’s become acceptable to pepper food, especially food targeted at children, with sweet addictive substances that cause a plethora of health problems. Parents and carers think if a product is sold and advertised then governments have approved it, therefore it must be safe. Sadly, this is not the case. According to Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of California, there are three similarities between the effects of alcohol and fructose sugar:
1. Your liver metabolizes alcohol the same way as sugar, as both serve as substrates for converting dietary carbohydrate into fat. This promotes insulin resistance, fatty liver, and abnormal fat levels in your blood.
2. Fructose undergoes the Maillard reaction with proteins. This causes superoxide free radicals to form, resulting in inflammation.
3. Fructose can directly and indirectly stimulate the brain’s ‘hedonic pathway,’ creating habituation and dependence, the same way that ethanol does." (go to above link for citation)
In an article in The Age a few days ago entitled Expert says we are giving children the equivalent of alcohol for breakfast,  it is stated that "[a]ccording to the latest ABS statistics, children aged 2 to 3 were the most prevalent consumers of breakfast cereals (54 per cent), followed by 4-8-year-olds (52 per cent)... That's no big deal if they're eating plain oats, but few kids are."

In an article on my family last week, where the byline on the homepage ran: The next level of extreme parenting, it read: "One look at the couple’s four-year-old, Blackwood, will also have you prizing that lollipop out of your toddler’s mouth. 'Woody' has never touched processed sugar. “A treat for Woody is a mandarin picked off the tree, a handful of ripe berries or a sweet red capsicum,” Ms Ulman says. “We don’t shop at supermarkets so there are no shiny packets or chocolate bars to entice him and we don’t own a television so there are no ads to seduce him.”

While in Murdoch's media world, which represents the so-called mainstream, it is 'extreme' to keep booze-like refined sugar out of children's diet. But in the worlds of creatures, ecology, wisdom and care, it is unthinkable to give our young people industry's poisoned gifts.

Woody on a berry hunt


It's time for...

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Capitalism – so full of itself, full of its poisons and waste, of hatred of everyone, the land and its diverse communities – has run its course. Exhausted it begins to shut doors. To build more coffins. To plan more war – its finest economy. The Left with drab succour watches the Right running away with the ball (and the goalposts) yelling out ‘that’s not fair’. But Trump has been a long time in the making. He has been manufactured by capitalism's core value: aggressive competition. Only we can choose not to participate or dwell in the milieu of this illness; not to join the money markets that empower the Trumps of the world. Only we can take up land, learn again to grow food, energy, ecology and community, and leave nascent neo-fascism to the 1%. #divestfromcapitalism #divestfromfascism
Written and unauthorised by the neopeasant quiet and non-violent revolution going on in the magnificent underworld everywhere around the world.


A little case for growing food in community (and doing with less money)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

We all know wage-slavery is consuming the planet and as a result increasing amounts of land are being cleared and mined and militarised, and yet we continue on thinking someone else will fix the predicament.

Money materialises into plumes of aggregating waste, making life unbearable for many. Money must grow, it must keep taking. How much of your economy is dependent on money?

All we really need is a bicycle, access to land to grow food, simple shelter, loving community and the will to take responsibility for our actions. Is that really so difficult to achieve? 

Everything other than a clear-eyed relationship with food and energy resources, and the culture and care that comes from such activity, is excessive, fraudulent and destructive. Everything else is insane.

Accepting a life of neoliberal wage-slavery is accepting a life of permanent planetary war. The dots that join our lives to this scenario are few in number. Are we going to own this paradigm and enact change or keep pretending?

What will it take for you to become a regenerator of the flowering earth again, like our ancestors before us? What will it take for you to hear the songs of the earth again?

At what point will you say ENOUGH! I will not support this paradigm, and start living so more life can be lived after you?

Lessen your dependance on money and you will start reclaiming accountability from neoliberal hypertechnocivility and help grow again the flowering earth. It takes one to inspire another. There is no preaching to the converted. There is only action or inaction.

Fighting for the world's biospheres begins by changing our economy. In just seven years our household has decreased our dependancy on the monetary economy by 60%. Getting rid of our cars and growing our own food has been a big part of this.

Wishing you greater permapoesis into the new year. A very merry solstice to you.


Art as war (through the gut)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

While western food eradicates the life-giving bacteria in our guts, inflaming our biology and behaviour, western film — our most dominant art — must use guns, kill with impunity, and offer only polarising forces and characters. 

Advertisement in The Saturday Paper, 22 October 2016
So is there a correlation with what we mine to put into our guts and what we mine to tell our stories? Is this why we live in a cultural paradigm committed to permanent war? A war lived at the supermarket and in the cinema?


Marriage plebiscite for all comers!

Friday, September 16, 2016


Kruger:Refuse (or, Required myths of the hypermediated)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The image on the left belongs to the art of Barbara Kruger.

The image on the right shows OJ's hoody (at the Daylesford Refuse and Recycling Centre today).

Gender may be more irrelevant than life imitating art...


Newcomers and old timers mixing it like no one can tell...

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Reclaiming the economies of regard

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The post today welcomes in Peter Tyndall's gift

Much gratitude Poeter.


A permaculture poetics

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Spiral Orb: an experiment in permaculture poetics, is an online poetry journal based in the US. According to its editor Eric Magrane:
Spiral Orb is an experiment in juxtaposition, interrelationships, and intertextuality — a cross-pollination.
My poem Permamesostic, appeared in the first issue in 2010, and now my Anthem; elegy appears in the eleventh.


Christmas messaging 101

Monday, December 21, 2015

He was born so as we could shop, right?


What is industry-science?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pretty much the only science there is today is conducted by the imperatives of industry — money. Can this model of capital-led research produce 'objective science'? What is objectivity? A wishful desire to be more-than-human? Industry-science is one of the great unexamined and unquestioned phenomenas of our age. Apparently some questions can be disappeared when polymer bank notes are on offer.

Insect repellents? Unfollow


Primitive promotions

Saturday, July 11, 2015

After four years writing my doctorate Walking for food: Regaining permapoesis, and two more years researching and writing The art of free travel: A frugal family adventure (forthcoming UNSW Press), I'm musing about what next to focus my attention on. Here are some sketches:

This subject comes from an interest in critiquing popularist activism that avoids larger questions about civil-settler culture and the role of agriculture in making cities, and how cities originally divided labour producing not just pollution but historians, artists and like-specialists who, in turn, helped construct total ecological abstractionism.

Examining all that is under lock-and-key and why home, food and mobility are reliant on debt, and how debt ecologically, politically and ethically bankrupts through the marriage of industry-science and growth-economics.

The subject focuses on a pet hate: If you act or think differently you're an ideologue, while if you passively go along with consumer-pollution ideology, you're not. Unpopular Acts examines how our corporate-science society is the most boring ever to exist, and investigates that very brutal word 'normal' and how school shapes us for being normal corporatised citizens absent of ecstasy and looseness.


Walked-for 'free tucker' and walking 'knowledge is free'

Thursday, June 4, 2015

I wrote my doctorate paid for by public money, so (in memory of Aaron Swartz and in the spirit of Creative Commons), I make it available here free, to the public. I encourage all other scholars to do the same with their research, regardless of what copyright laws unethically demand otherwise. #knowledgeisfree.

Everything you've learnt is just provisional; it's always open to recantation or refutation or questioning. The same applies to society. — Aaron Swartz


A happy fuckin’ ANZAC Day centenary sampling to accompany a portrait of the British flag tabloid raised at night (Jerry Seinfeld) in the southern hemisphere chapter of the global monetary economy oil wars (in 153 words)

Friday, April 24, 2015

1. Pat Barker. The Ghost Road, Penguin Books, 1996, pp143-144
Daily Telegraph


A short string of drawings from the road (in celebration of being on our bicycles for a year)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Letter to elders
Keeping chickens
New flag
Click on an image to make it bigger.


What are the foundations on which this country is built?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Damaging technics, greed and narrow self-interest, inducing policies of abuse and genocide that are still in effect?

Click for bigger


Food, ethics, killing

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Recently published in Arena.


Search: 'poetry' – Did you mean forestry?

Friday, March 28, 2014


Dwell, at Plumwood Mountain

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Plumwood Mountain, an Australian journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics, recently published its inaugural issue. According to the journal's editors,
We publish poetry that may broadly be understood as engaging with a more-than-human context, in a variety of poetic forms, articles on the poetics and intent of ecopoetry, exploring ways in which poetry not only responds to and affects its world, but also ways  in which poetic practice can model ecological systems and concerns, the ways in which poems themselves are material, breathy things in a world of animate matter, and reviews of collections of poetry that understand themselves or could be understood as ecopoetry.

Plumwood Mountain is part of a cultural reshaping toward what Val Plumwood called an ‘environmental culture’.
My slow-text mesostic, Dwell, was published in this first issue.

Read the previous post regarding my current collaborative performance project.


Over there

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hi there, if you hadn't already got the news I'm hanging around over at the Artist as Family blog for the next year while we conduct research for a new book called Free Food. In this book we aim to put together all of our experiments in foraging, hunting, gifting and swapping, low-carbon travelling, poaching, free-loading and generally living a very small ecological footprint in this very big country.

If you want to follow our adventures, please click on the Artist as Family link (above) and put your email address in the subscribe tab.


Contour ploughing (poetry, permaculture and P A Yeomans)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Packing up the house today. About to leave on a year's adventure. Dipping into old notebooks. Stopping on this page. From fifteen years ago. A hill in Musk, close to here: Contour ploughing.

A black shouldered kite
follows my spine –
scribed by a grader,
filled with coarse rock
pursues the depression
         contours of my
         tired back;
my blades
with sour grasses
of mid-summer
once covered in clover
           like my belly now
dark and wet
protected from the sun's west

The drawing and poem were very simply imagined sometime in my late twenties (the notebook entry is undated). A vineyard is now situated on this hill, but it has never been ploughed on contour to create swales for passive water harvesting.

Well before I was ready to know about P A Yeomans, permaculture, ploughs and poetics or my own political imperative of bringing back the digging stick, I was intuitively writing and drawing up the logic of rehydrating land through swales – spoon drains that follow contours and hold up rain water. All these years later Ian Milliss and Lucas Ihlein are focussing on these very relationships in a show called The Yeomans Project. They have asked Milkwood Permaculture, Taranaki Farm, (f)route, Diego Bonetto and us, Artist as Family, along for the ride. And we will be riding over 1000 kms to witness this project, leaving Friday.


Buckley and me

During my doctoral research I got to know William Buckley pretty well. As I was scouring material on him a friend, Maya Ward, recommended I read Strandloper, which is an excellent novel based on his life. I have called Buckley the first Australian permaculturalist (cheekily, in front of David Holmgren). Last year Southerly published my Portrait of the escaped convict who slowly nativised into a Wathaurong man over 32 years before Batman and co discovered him. The poem features in my thesis alongside this photograph painted by an unknown artist and undated. The painting hangs in the State Library of Victoria.

Today I was rifling through some images and I came across this photograph taken of me reading at the Victorian Writers' Centre (next door to the SLV) in 2011. I'm standing in front of my poem Step by step, which also features in my thesis.

An uncanny resemblance between permaculture poets? Buckley is important to me because he is a rare European who listened to and learnt from Indigenous land spirit and intelligence.


Jaara Jaara Seasons

Sunday, November 3, 2013

There has been a resurgence of thought about Aboriginal seasonality in these parts. My friend Tanya Loos recently launched in Daylesford her book Six Seasons in the Foothill Forests, which includes a dust jacket that folds out into this very special calendar:

In surmising the six seasons of the Daylesford region Tanya's sources were many and varied, including references from Jaara elder Uncle Brien Nelson. Her book will be launched at Readings Carlton this Wednesday 6 November at 6.30pm. Congratulations Tanya!

Then today, some friends and I went to hear Ros Bandt's Jaara Jaara Seasons, a Bush Sound Performance that took place in the Acoustic Sanctuary in nearby Fryerstown. A few hundred people came to listen. 

I first met Ros a little while back at Jude Perry and Uncle Brien's Bunjil Park where we both took a traditional basket weaving workshop. Today Uncle Brien's son Rick Nelson sang Welcome to Country accompanied by Ron Murray on didgeridoo.

Their short but powerful welcome led us into a diverse environment with diverse weather, bordering on six seasons in one afternoon.

Through multiple instruments and from several amplification points, sound, song and spoken work emerged. People moved through Jaara country, the work physically formed in us. Local birds and falling rain intervened knowingly.

As did a myriad of wild flowers, these particular lilies refusing to be captured as they danced in the wind.

The sound in the bush was restorative and nurturing. It enabled reflection and understanding. It didn't shy away from or disappear colonisation,

but more so provided a place for maturity. After the performance one friend commented that she wanted to get out of doors more often and listen more intently. I agreed and replied how I'm looking forward to living outside for at least the next year.

Congratulations Ros and her fellow performers: Rick Nelson, Ron Murray, Sarah James, Mary Doumany, Le Tuan Hung and Wang Zheng Ting.


Wanted urgently!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Publishers who understand ecological crises, monetary damage, and the imperatives of radical change. Publishers open to new models for human societies, who understand multiform and experimental texts, who get biodiversity and the relationships between food, energy and ecology. Publishers who are giving up on perpetuating anthropocentric pollution ideology and who promote the composting of hierarchical and unjust social orders. Publishers who value the reclaiming of low-carbon, regenerative technologies, thought and deeds and believe they can contribute to a future of aggregating uncertainty and struggle but nonetheless joy, resilience and intelligence.

If you know of any publisher that fits such a description please let me know.


Gariwerd boomerang

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

For a while now I've wanted to make a boomerang. A recent trip to Gariwerd became the perfect time to do it. I took a few basic tools with me and late one afternoon I set out from our camp to find an appropriate wattle limb.

Near to where Zeph, Gabe and I were camping I found a lightwood wattle (Acacia implexa) that had blown over in a storm. It was still quite green and I found a suitable part to cut out.

I then got to work with my small hatchet cutting a basic form,

before beginning work on shaving down the sides. Traditionally, a stone head axe of a similar size would have been used to shape such tools.

I then used the small saw to do some more basic shaping,

returning to more shaving until most of the wood was removed. A boomerang is the precursor to an airplane's wing and precedes this technology by about forty thousand years. It has a flat under side and a curved up side.

I then used my pocket knife to finely finish the boomerang. It flew well, but didn't return. Someone at the camp joked, if it doesn't return it is not a boomerang, it's just a stick. I needed some better advice than this so we headed off to the Brambuk Cultural Centre again.

We admired the traditional boomerangs in the Brambuk collection,

and booked in to the boomerang throwing workshop with Jeremy. He kindly gave some great tips on getting my next boomerang to return. He suggested that the shape of mine was generally used for ceremonies. Next time I will try to find an acacia root with a greater natural curve.

On no other continent did people develop a returning arrow. This ingenious tool really indicates an incredible intelligence. I have often heard it said that Aboriginal people purposely didn't develop their technology beyond their edible and ceremonial needs. This represents a mature sensibility to land and resources that the west (and its anxiety for innovation) could really refer to now.


Newspaper by 2008

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